• FIFA CWC 2018: Wydad and Al Ahly vie for Fifa Club World Cup spot

    (Gulf News) Alexandria: Moroccan champions Wydad Casablanca face Egyptian giants Al Ahly in the first leg of the Caf Champions League final at Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria, Egypt, on Saturday.

    The winner of the two-legged final (second leg in Casablanca, November 4) will play in the Fifa Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi, December 6-16, where they will face Concacaf champions Pachuca of Mexico, in the quarter-final.

    A total of eight matches will be played in the Club World Cup between seven regional champions, including Real Madrid, all contesting for the ultimate club accolade.

    Having previously competed in the tournament five times in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2012, and 2013, Al Ahly are no strangers to the Club World Cup. They finished in third in 2006, defeating Concacaf champions Club America 2-1 in the third-place play-off.

    Wydad Casablanca arrive at the Caf Champions League final with the hopes of qualifying for the Club World Cup for the first time in their history. Their city rivals, Raja Casablanca, became the first Moroccan and Arab team to reach a Club World Cup final in 2013.

    Wydad Casablanca’s incredible run to the Caf Champions League final saw them defeat last year’s Caf Champions League winners, Mamelodi Sundowns in the quarter-final and last year’s Algerian league winners, USM Alger in the semi-final.

    Al Ahly head into the final in high hopes, following a sensational semi-final win against Etoile du Sahel with an aggregate score of 7-4.

    Their second-leg 6-2 home win against the Tunisian side was the highest score recorded in a Caf Champions League semi-final. If victorious in the final, Al Ahly will become the most decorated Caf Champions League side in history, with nine titles to their name.

    Elsewhere, Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal will take on Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds in the first leg of the AFC Champions League final on November 18 in Riyadh.

    Four teams have qualified for the Club World Cup to date. They are; Spain’s Real Madrid, New Zealand’s Auckland City, Mexico’s Pachuca and the UAE’s Al Jazira.

    The winner of the Caf Champions League final will be the fifth qualifier for the tournament, with the remaining two teams — the AFC Champions League winner and the Copa Libertadores winner — set to be determined between November 25 and 29.

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  • CHAN 2018: Egypt reject CAF invite to play in Morocco at reorganised 2018 CHAN finals

    October 25 – The Confederation of African Football (CAF) says it has yet to receive any official notification confirming Egypt’s withdrawal from the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN).

    Earlier this week, Egyptian officials said they were pulling out of the tournament for African players based in their domestic leagues because of a timing clash.

    “We sent an official reply to CAF that we will not be able to play CHAN,” said Egypt FA (EFA) executive director Tharwat Sweilam. “We cannot stop the (Egyptian) Premier League, especially as the tournament is being played outside the FIFA international calendar.”

    But CAF says it has not received any correspondence from the EFA ahead of January’s finals. “Nothing official (has been) received from the EFA in that regard,” a CAF spokeperson told the BBC.

    Egypt’s withdrawal would represent another blow to a tournament that has been plagued by organisational issues, not least stripping Kenya of hosting rights and handing them to Morocco who qualify automatically. As a result, Morocco’s original place was given to Egypt who were knocked out by the Moroccans in August, but CAF will now have to select yet another country to complete the 16-strong representation.

    Egypt has never played in CHAN, whose fifth edition is scheduled to take place in four Moroccan cities – Agadir, Casablanca, Marrakech and Tangier – from 12 January to 4 February 2018. By contrast, Egypt is the continent’s most successful country having won a record seven Africa Cup of Nations titles.

    http://www.insideworldfootball.com/2017/10/25/egypt-reject-caf-invite-play-morocco-reorganised-2018-chan-finals/

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  • Press review: Amine Harit reveals Bayern Munich snub

    Schalke starlet Amine Harit has moved to reveal that he rejected a chance to join Bayern Munich in the summer.

    The 20-year-old became a hot commodity after the impressive debut campaign with Nantes, and he eventually secured a lucrative move to Veltins Arena.

    However, Harit has now revealed that he was also on the radar of Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich.

    “It is true that Bayern wanted me. When a big club calls, you think about it, of course,” Harit told Sport Bild.

    “But, you also ask yourself: What is the best thing for my development? I came to the conclusion that Schalke and their project fitted me better.”

    Harit seems to have made an excellent choice as he went on to start first 9 Bundesliga matches for the Miners, producing 2 assists in the process.

    The youngster also decided to switch his allegiance to Morocco after representing various France youth sides, and he went on to earn two senior caps for the Atlas Lions.

    http://www.soccernews.com/amine-harit-reveals-bayern-munich-snub/242544/

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  • NT: Oussama Tannane injured

    NT: Oussama Tannane injured and is doubtful for Morocco clash vs Ivory Coast on Nov 11th.

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  • Moroccans Abroad: Ajax release Nouri update

    Ajax released an update on Abdelhak Nouri on Monday which sadly confirmed the 20-year-old’s condition is unchanged.

    Nouri suffered heart failure during Ajax’s friendly with Werder Bremen on the 8th of July, which left him with permanent and severe brain damage.

    Ajax last updated his condition on the 28th of July, but they released a statement on Monday because of the amount of requests they have been receiving from fans wanting to know the latest. Sadly Nouri’s condition hasn’t changed much over the last few months.

    Nouri is still in an Amsterdam hospital, but his situation is stable, with independent heartbeat and breathing. His family are keeping faith and are urging people to continue their prayers for the 20-year-old.

    http://www.football-oranje.com/ajax-release-nouri-update/

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  • CAF CL: Azaro hat-trick sees Al Ahly into Champions League final

    ALEXANDRIA, Egypt (Reuters) - Walid Azaro scored a hat-trick as Egypt’s Al Ahly beat Tunisia’s Etoile Sahel 6-2 in the return clash of their African Champions League semifinal on Sunday to move a step closer to a record ninth continental title.

    The Cairo giants, 2-1 behind after the first leg and forced to play in Alexandria in front of a restricted crowd because of security concerns, emphatically overturned the deficit to earn a place against Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca in the two-leg final.

    Azaro’s treble, Ali Maaloul, who opened the scoring after just two minutes, a goal from Rami Rabia and an own goal by Etoile’s Hamdi Nagguez ensured that Al Ahly surged to a 7-4 aggregate success.

    The visitors managed consolation goals through Rami Bedoui and Ihab Msakni but were thoroughly outplayed despite taking their one-goal lead into the match after the first leg in Sousse earlier this month.

    Achraf Bencharki scored twice as Wydad booked their place in the final with a 3-1 home win over USM Alger on Saturday after a goalless first leg.

    Walid El Kharti had put Wydad ahead in the first half and Bencharki added a second soon after the break but Wydad then had Amine Atouchi dismissed for a two booking.

    Ayoub Abdellaoui reduced the deficit for the Algerian club, to make for an uncomfortable final 20 minutes for Wydad. Yet Bencharki made sure of their progress with a stoppage- time goal.

    Wydad last won African football’s top club prize 25 years ago. The first leg of the final will be in Egypt this weekend with the return in Casablanca on November 4 or 5. Final details and kick off times will be decided this week by the Confederation of African Football.

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  • NT: Scotland to play Morocco in Agadir next year? The game is yet to be confirmed

    Source: https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/sport/football/1727139/scotland-morocco-friendly-africa-new-boss/

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  • CAF CL: Al Ahly thrash Etoile du Sahel to reach Champions League final

    (BBC Sports) Egyptians Al Ahly will play Moroccans Wydad Casablanca in next month's African Champions League final after thrashing Etoile du Sahel 6-1 to win through 7-3 on aggregate.

    In an extraordinary semi-final in Alexandria, Ahly constantly ripped the Tunisians' defence apart as they booked their place in the final for a record eleventh time.

    After Ali Maaloul opened the scoring after just two minutes, Walid Azarou took the game away from Etoile with three unanswered goals.

    An own goal and a fine strike from Rami Rabiaa took Ahly to their first final since 2013, with Etoile replying through Rami El Bedwi and Ihab Msakni late on.

    Four years ago, Al Ahly beat Orlando Pirates as they successfully defended the title they had won twelve months earlier.

    The game was played in front of around 40,000 fans in Alexandria, which boosted Al Ahly since many games in Egypt are played behind closed doors for security reasons.

    They will meet Wydad in November's two-legged final, after the Moroccans beat USM Alger of Algeria 3-1 on Saturday to qualify by the same aggregate scoreline.

    African champions just once in their history, when beating Sudanese opposition in 1992, Wydad are through to their third final after finishing runners-up to Tunisians Esperance in 2011.

    Ahly, meanwhile, are through to a record eleventh final and can now now extend their record of eight African crowns to nine should they beat Wydad.

    The Egyptians' previous successes in Africa's premier club competition came in 1982, 1987, 2001, 2005-2006, 2008 and 2012-2013.

    Whoever wins next month will represent Africa in Fifa's Club World Cup in Japan in December.

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  • Serie A: Genoa man looks for revenge: 'Milan destroyed me'

    Speaking ahead of Genoa’s trip to the San Siro today, the former QPR star claims he didn’t enjoy his time with the Rossoneri.

    This chimes with what Carlos Bacca recently said about the Milan sides he played for, claiming they were “the worst in the club’s history”.

    Taarabt had shined at QPR, scoring nineteen league goals in the 2010-2011 season and earning interest from big spenders PSG, among others.

    He ended up at the Rossoneri in 2014 when he’d lost some of his lustre, and looked to bounce back. He managed four Serie A goals in 14 appearances, but wasn’t good enough to earn an extended stay.

    “That experience destroyed my psychologically,” Taarabt told the Gazzetta.

    “I had done well with the Rossoneri and we were on the verge of signing the contract, then Pippo Inzaghi arrived and made other choices. Returning to QPR after playing in the Champions League alongside stars like Kaka really hurt.”

    Taarabt looks to have turned over a new leaf over the summer, claiming at the start of the season that he had worked very hard, finally realising in his own words that football was a job, not just a passion.

    He wasn’t completely negative about the Rossoneri, however:

    “I made friends there too, as Mario Balotelli was here three weeks ago in Genoa to see me, while I went to see him in Monaco. He is like me, we both need affection. He has an enormous heart and has found a President at Nice who cares for him, so he’ll become great again.

    “Taking on Milan is emotional for me now, as I had six wonderful months there at a fantastic club.”

    http://www.calciomercato.com/en/news/genoa-man-looks-for-revenge-milan-destroyed-me-56222

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  • Great Goal of Fajr (0-1) Levante UD vs Getafe CF

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